Sartre : A Philosophical Biography

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Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. Regarded as the father of existentialist philosophy, he was also a political critic, moralist, playwright, novelist, and author of biographies and short stories. Thomas R. Flynn provides the first book-length account of Sartre as a philosopher of the imaginary, mapping the intellectual development of his ideas throughout his life, and building a narrative that is not only philosophical but also attentive to the political and literary dimensions of his work. Exploring Sartre's existentialism, politics, ethics, and ontology, this book illuminates the defining ideas of Sartre's oeuvre: the literary and the philosophical, the imaginary and the conceptual, his descriptive phenomenology and his phenomenological concept of intentionality, and his conjunction of ethics and politics with an 'egoless' consciousness. It will appeal to all who are interested in Sartre's philosophy and its relation to his life.
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Table of contents

1. The childhood of a genius; 2. An elite education: student, author, soldier, teacher; 3. Teaching in the lycee, 1931-1939; 4. First triumph: The Imagination; 5. Consciousness as imagination; 6. The necessity of contingency: Nausea; 7. The war years, 1939-1944; 8. Bad faith in human life: Being and Nothingness; 9. Existentialism: the fruit of liberation; 10. Ends and means: existential ethics; 11. Means and ends: political existentialism; 12. A theory of history: Search for a Method; 13. Individuals and groups: Critique of Dialectical Reason; 14. A second ethics?; 15. Existential biography: Flaubert and others; Conclusion: the Sartrean imaginary, chastened but indomitable.
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Review quote

'No English-speaking philosopher has read [Sartre's] vast corpus with greater industry than Mr Flynn. His new biography scrutinises the works chronologically from start to finish. It includes Sartre's fiction and plays as well as the political or critical essays. Mr Flynn has done Sartrean initiates a large service.' The Economist 'This exploration of Sartre's thought in the context of his life is both extensive and comprehensive: a major contribution to Sartre studies.' Thomas Busch, Villanova University
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About Thomas R. Flynn

Thomas R. Flynn is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. He is the author of many articles and books, including Sartre and Marxist Existentialism: The Test Case of Collective Responsibility (1984), Sartre, Foucault and Historical Reason, Volume 1: Toward an Existentialist Theory of History (1997) and Volume 2: A Poststructuralist Mapping of History (2005), and Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction (2006).
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